Here comes the rain again: Storms delay first round

By Doug Gorman and Anthony Rhoads

Rainstorms have been commonplace at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship and this year has been no exception.

Friday's opening round was delayed until noon because of the weather and early Friday morning parts of the course were under water.

By the end of the day, only half the field completed the first round.

"I didn't think we were going to play and there was no way to get 18 holes in," Cristie Kerr said. "I had a lot of fun and it turned out to be a nice day up until the end."

The Chick-fil-A has been shortened by rain twice over the years.

In 1997, Nancy Lopez won the event after it was cut to two rounds.

Last year, the tournament was cut to two rounds and Juli Inkster came away with the victory.

Almost an ace: Val Skinner nearly made a hole in one on just her second hole of the day. Starting her round on the back nine, Skinner's tee shot on the Par 3, 182-yard No. 11 skimmed over the hole and left her a short putt. Skinner sank the putt to begin her day with back-top-back birdies.

Welcome home: LPGA golfer's Mitzi Edge (Augusta), Nancy Lopez (Albany), Cindy Schreyer (Newnan), Angela Jerman (Columbus), Denise Killeen (Marietta) all list places in Georgia as their hometowns. Rosie Jones also has lived in Atlanta. Vicki-Goetze-Ackerman was an all-American at the University of Georgia.

Champion's group: Three former Chick-fil-A Charity Champions were paired in the same group Friday for the first-round of the tournament.

Tournament host Nancy Lopez (1997), Dottie Pepper (1992) and dending champ Juli Inkster played in the round as part of the same group.

In the money: Juli Inkster, who won the 2002 Chick-fil-A Charity Championship, is third on the LPGA career money list. Inkster has collected $7,666,836.23 Annika Sorenstam leads all tour players with more than $11,000,0000 in earnings.

International flavor: In six events so far in the LPGA season, there have been six different winners and only one American, Candie Kung, has taken the top spot.

Other winners this year have been Karrie Webb (Australia), Wendy Doolan (Australia), Se Ri Pak (South Korea), Patricia Meunier-Lebouc (France), Annika Sorenstam (Sweden).

Even though no Americans have won a tournament this year, most of the players in the top 50 are from the United States.

"I think it speaks volumes for the quality of competition and the quality of our sponsors and economic opportunities here on the LPGA Tour and I think the fact that we have such international and diverse membership base provides enormous economic opportunities for the overall organization," LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw said.